Chapter Seventeen

Being a superstar, prior to a gig, I was able to have the privacy I craved to get ready and prepare. Unfortunately, for the show tonight in Philadelphia, I was not getting what I needed.

The night began normal. As usual, I had my own dressing room to get ready. Rudy did my hair and Mercedes took advantage of my feud with Karl to dress me. Since I was more than happy to go with her skinny jeans and off the shoulder top, I put on the clothes with no hesitation. It was not Karl approved but as he was being petty and ignoring me, I was doing what I wanted. Lars was his new favorite band member, though I doubted it would last. Till then, I was enjoying my freedom.

After I dressed, I wanted to disappear to wherever Blake was getting ready. Unfortunately, Mercedes was having a girl moment and kept changing into something new. She was taking full advantage of the clothes rack provided to me. After numerous changes, in the end she decided to wear a hip waitress outfit – a fitted white blouse tucked into a black mini skirt with an oversized blazer and some ankle twisting heels. She only settled on this outfit as our mother had arrived.

"There are my two beautiful babies!" my mother exclaimed. Though Mercedes had her coloring, neither of us looked too much like her. She was a petite woman while we both towered over her. "I was waiting with Mom and Pop and the boys, but you still haven't joined us. What's the hold up? Lars said there were boy issues?"

I glanced at Mercedes. Her face showed she wanted to kill Lars as much as I did. "Boy issues?" I tried to sound as nonchalant as possible. "He must be projecting. Did he tell you the girl from high school who did that first article on us interviewed him the other day? He gave her the scoop of the century all because he's still sweet on her." I totally threw him under the bus. It was worth it to save me from my mother's questions about Blake and grandbabies. She always was asking about grandbabies.

"What?" My mother had the same look Mercedes got that scared the crap out of me. It was the evil plot planning look. "Her mother, Laura Jane, is such a sweetheart. I'm going to have to have her over to tea. I should ask Zoey as well and get the whole story out of her. I would love to know her thoughts on our Lars."

Mercedes grinned. It was such an evil grin. "Oh yes. We all want to know her thoughts on Lars. Especially Lars."

She shouldn't have spoken. My mother's hawk-like stare turned to her. "Any you, my darling. What's this I hear about you hanging out with a boy name Julian? How long have you known this boy? What's his family like?"

She rubbed her forehead. "Ma, come on. We're just friends."

My mother simply arched an eyebrow, not saying a word. All she had to do was wait. One of us would crack. My escape plan was simple. I was going to keep moving slowly towards the exit and hope I made it out before she caught on or got bored of questioning my sister.

Mercedes stuck her hand in the jacket's pockets, sighing heavily. "Fine. There is a guy named Julian. He's in the opening band for Izzy. Not only that, he also happens to be the brother of Lex. Please don't harass him as we aren't dating. I-I just think he's cool, okay? That's it. There isn't some big story and if you would stop staring at me, I would stop rambling like a goon. 'Cause this is all I have to say about him. I like him." She groaned. "Oh great. I just admitted I liked him. This is why I needed the wig Isabelle!"

Damn, I had almost made it out the door. The stare was now locked onto me. She should have kept on Mercedes. I mean, she didn't get nearly enough out of her. What, she just said 'I like him' and my mom was done harassing her? It was never that easy.

"Isabelle, are you going somewhere?"

I forced a smile, trying to appear calm. You couldn't show fear. "I did want you to see Julian's band perform. I have yet to see them myself and thought it'd be great for us all to go out there together." Big smile.

She didn't buy it. "Or are you trying to avoid me questioning you on Lars? I see you two are finally admitting that you are not forever after?"

Please let her grill me about Lars. I could handle that. "Yes, Ma. You were right about him. I mean, I adore him but I don't love him like that. I don't want to be with him all the time, thankfully. He would break my heart if I did."

"I don't like the lying, Isabelle."

I shrugged. "I never lied to you. I mean, how could I?" Mercedes laughed. "I don't like it either, but whether right or not, we did it for our careers. It's hard out there to know what to believe and who knows what's going to happen when we tell the truth."

My mother snorted in disdain. "You listen to your family. We know what's right. Lying to people, that's absurd. What do they care if the two of you are no longer in love? The past album was about sappy love songs but there was no passion so who would believe it? No one wants to buy an album of lies. You fix this and people will buy your records like your first release. Those were songs of truth."

"Okay Ma."

She glared. "Do not just say something to appease me young lady. I want this next record to be something you can be proud of. If it isn't, do not even bother playing it for me. Now, let's go. I want to meet the man Lars says can tame my wild daughter."

Mercedes growled. "I'm going to kill him."

She raced out of the dressing room, my mother grinning at her retreating back. "This is so fun," she said with a laugh. "Come, let's tease her some more."

I stood, hugging her tightly. "I really missed you, Ma."

"I missed you too. And just because I haven't mentioned your new boyfriend Blake, doesn't mean I don't want to meet him as well."

Oh, Lars was definitely going down.